Los Angeles Chargers' 2020 NFL draft analysis for every pick

Was Justin Herbert the right pick for the Chargers? (1:03)

Lindsey Thiry details why the Chargers made the right call in selecting Justin Herbert with the sixth pick in the 2020 NFL draft. (1:03)

The 2020 NFL draft is in the books, and the Los Angeles Chargers' draft class is complete.

The draft, which had been scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, was successfully completed virtually from the homes of coaches, general managers and other front-office staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player the Chargers selected will fit.

Analysis of every pick | Updated depth charts


Justin Herbert's NFL draft profile

Justin Herbert had an outstanding season after returning to Oregon in 2019, and Mel Kiper Jr. is confident an NFL team will draft Herbert in the top 10.

Round 1, No. 6 overall: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

My take: The Chargers' decision to select Herbert sets the course of the franchise for the foreseeable future as they attempt to move on from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who departed in free agency after 16 seasons. Herbert's selection coincides with the Chargers' preparations to open the 2020 season inside their new home at SoFi Stadium and complete a rebranding process that began when they relocated from San Diego in 2017. Herbert is known for his arm strength and athleticism, particularly his ability to navigate outside the pocket, though questions have been raised about his accuracy and the speed of his decision-making.

Taylor or Herbert: Let the quarterback competition begin. Last month, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said veteran Tyrod Taylor was "in the driver’s seat" to win the starting job, but added that no decision would be made until training camp. A nine-year pro, Taylor has spent most of his career as a backup, with the exception of his three years as starter with the Buffalo Bills, which included a playoff appearance. Winning the starting job as a rookie could prove difficult for Herbert under normal circumstances, let alone with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that will keep teams from hosting a traditional offseason program. Herbert won the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the academic Heisman Trophy, as a senior, which suggests he will have few issues picking up the playbook. However, it's uncertain how quickly his knowledge on paper will translate to game-speed situations on the field.

Face of L.A.? It's no secret the Chargers have struggled to develop a stronghold in L.A. after relocating from San Diego in 2017. While Rivers never fully embraced the Chargers' move, Herbert provides the Bolts the chance at a fresh start to rally a fan base. Herbert is known to be an introvert, but he led Oregon to a Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl victory this past season. To be a star and garner attention in L.A., personality matters -- but if Herbert is able to turn the Chargers into a winner, he certainly would provide a boost for a fledgling fan base.


Was Kenneth Murray the right pick for the Chargers?

Lindsey Thiry breaks down whether the Chargers made the right decision to move up and select Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Round 1, No. 23 overall: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

My take: The Chargers were expected to be on the hunt for a linebacker in the draft, but it came as a surprise that they traded up into the first round, acquiring the No. 23 pick from the New England Patriots in exchange for the No. 37 (second round) and No. 71 (third round) picks to select one. Murray provides needed reinforcement at the position and could contend for a starting role immediately. He was a proven force at Oklahoma, especially against the run, as he tallied 22 run stops last season, which was tied for 12th in the FBS and second in the Big 12.

Reshape linebacking corps: The Chargers released Thomas Davis Sr. and watched Jatavis Brown depart in free agency this offseason, as Chargers general manager Tom Telesco asserted confidence in Drue Tranquill, a fourth-round pick last year, and Nick Vigil, who signed a one-year, $1.2 million free agent contract. However, it was apparent that more was needed to build the position group. Murray, who played three seasons at Oklahoma before declaring for the draft, is capable of making an immediate impact and could possibly win a starting role.

Telesco investing: Telesco has been aggressive in his offseason approach, and his decision to move up to select Murray is the latest example. Murray, widely projected as a mid-first-round pick, was unlikely to be available when the Chargers were to pick at No. 37. Murray, who is known for play-making speed, joins a defense that also added veteran tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in free agency.

Round 4, No. 112 overall: Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA

My take: Running back depth is always a good thing to have and it's particularly true for the Chargers, who lost Melvin Gordon in free agency. Kelley will fill the role as a change of pace for Austin Ekeler well. Kelley is a solid, all-around back who may never be a star but can help the Chargers win some games. -- Adam Teicher

Round 5, No. 151 overall: Joe Reed, WR, Virginia


Joe Reed's NFL draft profile

Take a look back at some of the highlights from former Virginia wide receiver Joe Reed's college career.

My take:The Chargers add depth in a receiver group that includes Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Before the draft, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco emphasized the importance of speed in the Bolts' offense and Reed certainly fits the description. He can line up in the slot or backfield and is considered an excellent returner. Last season at Virginia, Reed caught 77 passes for 679 yards and seven touchdowns.

Round 6, No. 186 overall: Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame


Alohi Gilman's NFL draft profile

Check out some of the highlights that make former Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman a player to watch for in this year's NFL draft.

My take: Started his career at the Naval Academy, but transferred to Notre Dame after the Defense Department changed some of the rules about service time after graduation. He played two seasons for the Irish. Gilman is aggressive to the ball -- as his six forced fumbles over the last two seasons attest -- but he does need to better finish the plays he diagnoses. He has shown he can match up with tight ends in the middle of the field in man-to-man situations, but he will have to be more consistent with his assignments to stay on the field. Should contribute on special teams immediately. -- Jeff Legwold

Round 7, No. 220 overall: K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

My take: The addition of Hill concludes a solid draft for the Chargers, who took Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray in the first round. Hill's 201 career receptions are a school record and he caught 10 TD passes last year. He is more of a possession receiver underneath than a burner who can take the top off a defense and projects more as a slot receiver at 6-foot, 192 pounds. -- Paul Gutierrez